A Note From Pastor Albert Tate
Exciting things are happening in the life of our church and quite frankly there just isn’t a lot of time on Sunday mornings to dive into detail so I wanted to take this opportunity today to give you a little “family update.”
First of all, 2017 was a phenomenal year. So many of you gave of your time, talent, and treasure and I just want to say thank you for your faithfulness and generous support.
This past fall, we hired our first Executive Pastor, Scott Hitzel. Scott, his wife, Lisa, and their twin boys have come on board and it has been amazing to see the impact they have had on our church in such a short period of time. In fact, Scott is doing such a great job, it has freed me up to step out of the day-to-day operations of our organization and allowed me to focus on prayer, study, and a vision for where God is leading our church.
That being said, I’ve had a lot of time to think and pray about our future and where God might lead us. This past fall, we talked about launching campuses and in particular heading west. Something we’ve been keeping in mind is not just where to “have services” but where can we “provide services.”
That prayer and that phrasing has been life changing for me. When I started to think about where we could “provide services” I couldn’t help but think back to my days at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena. I had the privilege of being led and mentored by people that were leading great ministries and providing amazing services, as they exemplified what it meant for the church to show up in the community of northwest Pasadena.
For decades great work has been done in this area, however, there is still work to be done. As a matter of fact, Dr. John Perkins, one of my mentors and one of the fathers of our church in many ways, founded Harambee Ministries in northwest Pasadena in 1982. Harambee is a ministry that serves the community through education, entrepreneurship, community development, and much more.
As we thought about joining those already doing great work in northwest Pasadena and about how we can “provide services” and not just “have a service,” the Lord began to speak to LaRosa and I. One night I had a dream and in the dream I was named the next Executive Director of Harambee Ministries. I had never even thought of this idea before. Frankly, I didn’t have the headspace to dream of such a crazy thing. However, with Scott now here, running the day-to-day operations of Fellowship, it has freed me up to the point where I can actually consider doing something like this while still serving here at Fellowship as Senior Pastor.
One day I met with the current Executive Director of Harambee, Harlan Redmond, who happens to be a good friend of mine and someone I connect with frequently. I wasn’t going to ask for his job, but over the course of our conversation, he revealed that he had the opportunity to study at Princeton Seminary. However, he was reluctant to jump at the chance because he wondered what would happen to Harambee. That’s when I said, “What if I became the next Executive Director of Harambee?” Harlan was so excited he practically levitated out of his seat!
That conversation began the process of praying more about it and talking to mentors such as Dr. John Perkins. Everywhere we turned and everyone we talked to gave us an affirming, “Yes, this sounds like it is from the Lord.”
So all of that to say my friends, in addition to continuing on as the Senior Pastor of Fellowship, I am taking on the role as the next Executive Director of Harambee Ministries.
I am so excited for the opportunity and challenge that lies ahead. At Fellowship, our fourth “G” is “Give” and in particular “giving our lives away on mission.” I never want us to simply be a place that “has services” on the weekend, but a place that “provides services” all throughout the week. As I think about that fourth “G,” I can’t think of a better way to give my life away on mission than to serve families and be a voice and advocate for the people in that community. Together we’ll work with the other local churches already partnered with Harambee as we live out the meaning of “harambee” – let’s all come together and push!
Well, that’s it for now. We’ll have more details in the coming months especially as we look ahead to Fellowship Pasadena launching in the fall. Just know we’re not going to Pasadena to launch a campus and “have services.” We are going to Pasadena to “provide services” along with the other great churches and organizations already doing great work in northwest Pasadena.
We’re coming to join in the fight for peace, justice, freedom, and the glory of God to come on earth, in Pasadena, as it is in heaven. Get ready, the journey begins now!
Pastor Albert Tate